Boracay Island

No more hotel voucher requirement to enter Boracay

Jun Aguirre

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No more hotel voucher requirement to enter Boracay

UNUSUAL QUIET. This empty beach in Boracay was full of visitors in the peak season months of October to May, 2019.

Jun Aguirre

The governor meets with Boracay business leaders to turn around the drop of foreign tourist arrivals

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The Aklan provincial government has relaxed restrictions for tourists coming to Boracay.

Governor Jose Enrique Miraflores signed Executive order 097 (Series of 2023) on November 15, lifting the hotel voucher requirement for entry to the world-famous resort island.

But that “win” for the local business sector may cause tourists to frown. Hotels and lodging houses can now charge “walk-in fees.”

Miraflores started implementation of the restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic surge.

The governor signed the EO lifting restrictions on the same day he met with the 2nd Boracay-Caticlan Sustainable Development Council  (BCSDC).

The closed-door meeting was arranged after the business community expressed alarm over the lack of foreign tourists. 

The Malay Tourism Office said it met on November 8 the 2023 target of 1.8 million tourists for Boracay.

The November 8 figure included 1.43 million domestic tourists, 35,668 Overseas Filipino Workers, and only 357,066 foreign tourists.

The 2023 figure means there were 680,000 fewer foreign tourists than in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit the country, said former Malay tourism Gil Delos Santos.

In 2019 Boracay registered 1.72 million tourists, with 914,928 domestic tourists and 827,531 foreigners.

That year, the resort island generated P49.861 billion in tourism income, according to the Aklan Provincial Tourism Operations Office (PTOO).

“It is believed that potential foreign tourists, instead of going to Boracay, they went to Hongkong, even some to Tagbilaran, Bohol,” Santos said during his presentation on the same issue before the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay.

Malay Councilor Alan Palma Sr said the town council conducted a fact-finding committee last November 13 to address the issues surrounding the lack of foreign tourists in Boracay.

Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI) President Edwin Raymundo, said the lack of foreign tourists coming to Boracay translates to lack of economic opportunities.

The BFI has also invited officers of other business organizations like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay and Aklan Chapters; the Korean Residents Organization of Boracay, including the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibition (MICE-Boracay) to discuss the problem.

“We consider ourselves experts in the tourism industry because we have built successful businesses in Boracay. We consider the implementation of the hotel voucher system as an added burden that turns off foreign tourists,” Raymundo said. –

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